3 insane conversations I’ve had with my Russian girlfriend | Russia Beyond

3 insane conversations I’ve had with my Russian girlfriend | Russia Beyond

New article up on Russia Beyond about 3 conversations I’ve had with my Russian girlfriend. To be fair, they changed the title to “3 insane conversations I’ve had with my Russian girlfriend.” I didn’t realize they were insane, maybe I am insane. Oh dear…  I am sure that Russian women are not the only ones who create these kinds of dialogues, but if you plan to date a Russian, plan to have your ideas challenged.


https://www.rbth.com/lifestyle/328913-russian-girlfriend-conversations


 

Well–That was new.

Well–That was new.

The security guard in my building is old. He doesn’t smoke. He used to smoke, but not anymore; he tells me every day. His English is not very good. Now that winter is dead, he spends more time outside. He finds me there and he says, “I used to smoke, but I don’t, now.”

Then, yesterday he came to me. He said, “I remember a story. There was a smoker, a soldier. And, he was smoking. The colonel. Colonel, you know?”

I nodded, took a drag.

“Yes. A colonel, he saw a soldier smoke. And the soldier saw the colonel and he threw the cigarette away. So, the colonel comes to the soldier and he picks up the lit cigarette and he, asks ‘is this yours?’ And the soldier says, no. And the colonel says, ‘no, it is yours, I saw you.’ And the soldier denies it and tells the colonel maybe it was his but before anything a sniper shoots the colonel right in the head.”

He made a pfft sound and poked himself in the head.

“Oh,” I said. I held my cigarette at my side. The security guard pointed at it and nodded.

“So,” he said, knowingly.

I nodded. “So.” I walked and put the cigarette in the ash tray. He nodded.

“To your health,” he told me and held the door for me to go back inside.

CIGARETTES, COINS, AND THE WATER OF LIFE|RUSSIAN TRANSLATION

CIGARETTES, COINS, AND THE WATER OF LIFE|RUSSIAN TRANSLATION

We’ve been working on putting all of the stories I wrote for Flash-365 project that are based in Russia into a book of Magical Realism in Saint Petersburg. As a preview, for those of you who are interested, it includes a new translation of “Сigarettes, Coins, and The Water of Life”, my very first story about the day I came to Russia.

Сигареты, монеты и вода жизни

Я попал в это место в животе серой птички родом из Европы. Она выплюнула меня прямо на тротуар. М встретил меня там.

«Возьми, они пригодятся тебе», – он протянул мне пачку сигарет. Мы выкурили по одной, пока ждали автобус.

Невысокий мужчина, неразборчиво стуча зубами под своим шарфом, подошел к нам на остановке.  Я посмотрел на М. Он протягивает ему сигарету. Мужчина быстро отбирает ее своей когтистой лапой, падает на все четыре и удирает прочь.

«Что это было?» ­– испуганно спрашиваю я.

«Если ты дашь им сигарету, они никогда тебя не побеспокоят»

«Что случится, если ты не дашь?»

«Я не хочу проверять на себе», – серьезно сказал М. Мы встаем со скамейки на остановке, все еще ожидая автобус.

«Они тебе тоже понадобятся» – он насыпал несколько монет мне в руку.

«Для чего?» ­– спросил я.

«Бабушки»

Автобус приехал. Большой валун в желтом комбинезоне направляется в нашу сторону, едва мы заходим внутрь. Выжидающее лицо выкрашено розовой краской. М высыпает горстку монет в ее потрескавшуюся протянутую ладонь. Я делаю то же самое.

М и я особо не знали друг друга перед тем, как решили жить вместе.  Поэтому поездку на автобусе, поезде и осле, а затем и прогулку до квартиры, мы провели, разнюхивая задницы друг друга. Это продолжилось и во время экскурсии по квартире, ужина в конце нашей улицы и бутылки крепкого напитка, который русские называют водкой.

Все закончилось, когда М с затуманенным взглядом признал, что у него есть одна проблема.

«У меня есть одна проблема», ­– сказал он. Когда я начал рассказывать свою историю об уходе за наркозависимыми, он поставил на стол маленький синий флакон между нами.

«Я умираю. Каждую ночь»

«Что?» – переспросил я.

«Я умираю» – он перерезает свое горло пальцем и драматично высовывает язык.

«Ага, как так получилось?»

«Около месяца назад я попал в аварию на мотоцикле и умер. Моя мама совершила своего рода сделку за эту штуку, – он потряс маленькой синей бутылочкой. – поэтому я вернулся назад. Но мне приходится принимать это каждый день»

«Что это?»

«Она зовет это водой жизни…, или смерти, или что-то такое»

«Понятно» – сказал я, задумываясь о том, во что я себя втянул.

«Ага, мне нужно добавлять несколько капель этой вещицы в свой утренний кофе и, хм, это возвращает меня к жизни. Потом мне нужно пить это в течение дня. Это не так плохо, как звучит. Знаешь людей, которые постоянно должны принимать все эти таблетки от диабета? Это почти то же самое, но не так плохо. Всего лишь одна доза»

Он улыбнулся. Я улыбнулся в ответ.

Я пошел спать.

Он умер.

 

Why Russians and Americans aren’t that Different | Russia Beyond

Why Russians and Americans aren’t that Different | Russia Beyond

A new article I’ve written for Russia beyond about how the actual people living in the two countries that are allegedly ‘enemies’ have plenty of their own shit to worry about without fretting over whether Putin and Trump are fighting or fucking.


https://www.rbth.com/lifestyle/328816-russians-americans-difference


 

Why the U.S. is Wrong about Russians

Why the U.S. is Wrong about Russians

I got sucked down the rabbit hole of Late Night Talk show host clips about Russia on YouTube. With the World Cup being here, there are endless jokes and bits being played about Russia’s lack of accommodating smiles.

While it is amusing, if they’d targeted any other country’s culture in this way, it’d be considered straight up racism. Oh well. Instead of preaching about how rude and wrong this rhetoric is, I wrote a short article for Russia Beyond about some of the positive things we can learn from a more reserved and honest culture like Russia.


https://www.rbth.com/lifestyle/328638-how-russians-changed-life-ben


 

 

Love and Terrorism at the FIFA World Cup

Love and Terrorism at the FIFA World Cup

New story up on Flash-365 about this woman from some Russian TV channel trying to marry my girlfriend and I at Fan Center for the FIFA World Cup in St. Petersburg. Also, made it a bit more weird cause, I can’t help myself.

Flash-365

pigeonsA group of Iranian soccer fans shouting “olayolayolay” at 9:00 am is not my alarm clock of choice. The FIFA World Cup has come to St. Petersburg.

Y and I head for the Fan Center. At the gates they confiscate a spoon from Y’s purse before letting us in. We stop for a drink at one of the stands. Y buys a cola.

“Can I have the top?” she asks.

The man behind the counter shakes his head.

“What? Why not?”

“Terrorists.”

We continue on through the crowd. There are hippopotami walking two-by-two all around the blue and red barriers hiding the fans from the streets. I don’t notice any little yellow birdies. It is loud that it is obnoxious. The type of obnoxious-loud where instead of saying “fuck—it’s loud here!” you just end up looking around and saying, “seriously?”

Y tugs at my arm, saying something. “WHAT?!”…

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5 Short Story Recommendations

5 Short Story Recommendations

5 Short Story Recommendations (repost from Telegram)

Hi everyone, it has been a while since I’ve made some short story recommendations. (For new people, I try to post five short stories I like, originally written in English, each week.)

“Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut: I went through a Vonnegut craze when I was in my early twenties. I own almost every novel he’s ever written, and I always enjoyed his short stories, this one in particular is wonderful. (also, if you’ve read ‘Sirens of Titan’ you’ll recognize some characters.

“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe: Many of you might have already read this one. It is his most famous, but it is also an incredible piece, I’d also like to add that “The Black Cat” is another one of my favorites by him.

“I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison: This is a super fucked up but fucking amazing science fiction short story. If you like science fiction and you’ve got the time and are okay with being a bit disturbed, check it out.

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber: They made a whole blockbuster from this story, but it is actually quite a short story and I think it is better than the movie. If you haven’t read it, it doesn’t take long, and it is one of Thurber’s best. (and by that, I mean; it is the only James Thurber short story I’ve read.)

“Six Inches” by Charles Bukowski: Okay, so this might be the weirdest short story I’ve ever read. When I was at university we had to choose a story to read aloud to the class, I chose this one. When I finished, everyone was very disturbed and I’m pretty sure the professor just said “…right.” But, though Bukowski is known for his poetry, he pulled off some really strange and really good short stories, this being one of his best.


Let me know if you guys like these stories by commenting below.